It’s a new week, and I’m back with another German car Rental Review for your enjoyment! Today’s rental is one of two American market entrants into the premium compact five-door liftback segment, and not a car one expects to find in an Enterprise lot. Presenting a 2020 Audi A5 Sportback, two years and 50,000 rental miles later.
The manual transmission continues to die a slow, lingering death. Audi is now eliminating the manual option from its entire U.S. lineup, not that the majority if its customers will actually miss it. While the 2018 Audi A4 can still be had with a six-speed manual, the refreshed 2019 model will not. The same will be true for the less-popular A5 coupe.
It’s a bum deal for enthusiasts but it’s difficult to come down too hard on Audi. The A4’s seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic isn’t exactly a terrible transmission and, considering it outsells the manual by a huge margin, it doesn’t make financial sense for Audi to ship anything else across the ocean.
Applying that logic hasn’t make us feel better about the situation, though.
Through the first eight months of 2017, consumers across America have acquired 12 percent fewer new passenger cars than during the first eight months of 2016.
That’s a drop of 565,000 sales, a rate of decline that stands in stark contrast to the U.S. auto industry’s 4-percent year-over-year light truck improvement. Cars now account for just 37 percent of all auto sales, down from more than 50 percent as recently as 2012. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Some auto brands are selling more cars this year than last, and a wide variety of cars are accelerating their sales pace. Subaru, for example, has already sold 17,981 more Imprezas in 2017 than in the same period of 2016.
So we’ve compiled a list of every passenger car that’s making meaningful headway in America’s anti-car market — the cars that are selling more and more often even as many of their competitors suffer under the weight of a pro-F150, pro-RAV4, pro-Escalade ESV wave.
The list is not very long.
Despite dire warnings that the sedan is about to experience a slow and grisly demise, der Technikers at Audi announced today that they will be crafting a new five-door liftback from their swoopy A5 coupe, the most interesting of which is the S5 Sportback.
Styling is typical Audi fare, employing their current Different Lengths of Sausage™ design language. Audi trumpets the Sportback’s short overhangs but it’s hard to ignore the gawping Singleframe grille, flatter and wider here than on previous models.
“I can’t quite believe it, but it actually looks different to the last one. In a wild change of tack…,” CAR Magazine’s CJ Hubbard writes, “…Audi has built a new car that doesn’t look nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor.”
To be fair, Hubbard is among an early group of drivers who spent a fair chunk of time with the new Audi A5 in Portugal, and with time comes familiarity, and with familiarity comes an ability to more easily distinguish the new car from the old. We’ll get there, too.
Moreover, while reviews in Top Gear and The Telegraph were more direct in regards to the new A5’s, “same-again bodywork,” and the idea that, “designers phones in the changes,” Hubbard simply said the new A5 does not look nearly indistinguishable from the old A5, which could be translated to mean that it does look somewhat indistinguishable.
Of course the new Audi A5 looks entirely like the old Audi A5. That’s how Audi does things, particularly when the predecessor was a home run. Why mess with success?
If you’re looking for a revolution in design, you won’t get it from the next-generation Audi A5 and S5.
Audi unveiled its redesigned personal luxury coupe last night, following a glitzy light show at the automaker’s Ingolstadt, Germany headquarters. The 2017 versions of the A5 and performance-oriented S5 give traditional German luxury car buyers exactly what they want — more room, more power, and design changes that don’t go over the top.
General Motors has often been the focus of criticism at Generation Why – despite what some of the B&B suggest, it’s merely a function of the fact that they put themselves out there the most when it comes to publicizing their youth marketing efforts. But it’s time to reward their efforts with some free, unsolicited advice from a know-it-all keyboard jockey.